Winter Blast Causes 3 Southern States to Declare Emergencies

Snow in southern states

Dorie Turner and Holbrook Mohr
Associated Press

ATLANTA — A blast of winter weather rolled across the South on Sunday, coating bridges and roads with snow, sleet and freezing rain and causing thousands of flight cancelations.

The governors of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennesseee declared emergencies for their states. By late Sunday, snow and ice had covered the ground in Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., with 2 to 3 inches reported west and northwest of Atlanta.

“We don’t have weather events like this,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in an on-air interview with CNN. “I think the amount of snow we’re getting is probably a 10-year event for the city of Atlanta.”

Georgia was expecting up to 6 inches of snow in the northern mountains from the powerful storm that also dumped snow and ice in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas. Forecasters said the front could also bring sleet and freezing rain lasting into Tuesday in Georgia.

Alabama Gov. Bob Riley said workers had readied snow and salt trucks to help clear icy roads, and he asked all residents to stay home Sunday night and Monday unless it is imperative that they have to travel.

Mississippi officials warned motorists that ice was accumulating on roads and bridges in many counties, creating hazardous driving conditions.

The National Weather Service posted winter storm warnings from east Texas to the Carolinas.

The snow in downtown Atlanta was coming down heavily, coating sidewalks and streets. Cars were having trouble on the slippery streets and highways all over the South, with numerous slideoffs, though there are no immediate reports of serious accidents. At times, the snow was mixing with sleet around Atlanta, said National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Beasley.

By Sunday night, snow was falling from Memphis, Tenn., to Birmingham, Ala., to Atlanta.

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